RESEARCH PAPER
Risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders among oil palm fruit harvesters during early harvesting stage
 
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1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
2
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
3
Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
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Department Of Mechanical And Materials Engineering, Faculty Of Engineering, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
5
School of Mechatronic Engineering, Universiti Malaysia, Malaysia
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(2):286–292
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
This cross-sectional study intends to investigate the associations of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among foreign labourers on a socio-economic background, occupational exposure, social lifestyle, and postures adopted during harvesting tasks. A total of 446 male respondents (263 FFB cutters; 183 FFB collectors) were studied using an interview-assisted questionnaire. OWAS was used to determine the severity of awkward posture based on videos of harvesting tasks recorded for each respondent. Analysis found that increasingly educated respondents had higher risk of developing MSDs. Shorter daily work duration and longer resting duration appear to increase the risk of neck and shoulder disorders among harvesters, which may be attributable to organizational work design. Awkward posture was a particularly significant risk factor of MSDs among FFB collectors. Among the results of the study, occupational exposure, postures and certain socio-demographic backgrounds explained some, but not all, the risk factor of MSDs among harvesters. An in-depth investigation, preferably a longitudinal study investigating the dynamic of work activities and other risk factors, such as psychosocial risk factors, are recommended.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Although the corporation expressed a policy of strict anonymity, the authors would like to thank the management of the oil palm plantations for their cooperation and participation in this study. This study was funded by the Research University Grant Scheme (RUGS) Initiative 6 (04– 01–12–1620RU) of the Universiti Putra Malaysia under the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.
 
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